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New Jersey senators among 4 states asking NOAA to address whale deaths

Wildlife and environmental agencies are investigating after a 7th whale washed ashore in recent weeks on a New Jersey beach.  ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Democratic U.S. Senators from four states want federal environmental officials to address a spate of whale deaths on both coasts, urging "transparency and timeliness" in releasing information about whale deaths and their causes.The call late Tuesday by New Jersey Sens.

Robert Menendez and Cory Booker; Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Oregon Sen.

Jeff Merkley, and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse for action by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marked the first large-scale request for action by Democratic federal lawmakers on an issue that has rapidly become politicized.Thus far, mostly Republican lawmakers have called for a pause or an outright halt to offshore wind farm preparation work, which they blame for the deaths of whales along the U.S.

East Coast since December.But in their letter to a NOAA administrator, the Democratic senators conspicuously did not blame — or even mention — offshore wind as a potential cause of the deaths. Numerous federal agencies have said there is no evidence linking it to whale deaths, many of which were determined to have been caused by ship strikes or entanglement with fishing gear.In a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Booker said he wants the agency to protect whales and communicate quickly about any deaths."To protect these animals, we must follow the facts and address the known, documented causes of death," he said.

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